Creamy Garlic Mushrooms

I 100% should have taken more pictures as I made these, but I didn’t, so there’s one of it being cooked, and one of it on my plate (which is highly unappetizing to behold, but I promise, it was a delicious plate).

Anyway, I love mushrooms. Kalen? Not so much. He doesn’t know what he’s missing, amiright!? That means these were all for me (spread over a few meals).

I had seen similar recipes while browsing Pinterest, and maybe even the same dang recipe at some point. Why do I say that?

Because it’s simple as can be!

But when I went to make these, I had to wing it. It was a last minute side dish addition that day, and I didn’t have time to seek out those recipes I’d seen before. So I grabbed out a few ingredients that I figured would work well for what I was thinking of, and before I knew it, I was typing up how I made it so I could replicate it over and over again.

Have I ever mentioned that I’m a creature of habit?

Without further adieu, I present to you…

Creamy Garlic Mushrooms
Ingredients
16oz baby bellas, cremini, or button mushrooms, whole (I removed the stems, but did not cut the mushrooms
6-12 cloves of garlic, finely minced (I used 12 – I do not mess around!)
4 tablespoons of butter
4 tablespoons of cream cheese, room temperature and cut into slices
¼ cup of grated Parmesan cheese (feel free to increase this to ½ cup of grated Parmesan, because I definitely used a heaping amount)(shredded would work too)
1 cup of heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Melt the butter in a skillet large enough to hold all of the mushrooms
2. Add the garlic and the mushrooms at the same time, stirring gently to cook. Cook about 6-8 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender.
3. Add in the heavy cream and cream cheese, making sure the cream cheese melts entirely.
4. Season with salt and pepper, and add in the grated Parmesan cheese.
5. Bring to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes more.
6. Serve! This makes 4 servings.

Kalen still insisted that this was gross, because my husband is apparently 9 years old, but it was so so so good!!! It reheated well in the microwave too!

You can also change it up by adding some cooked pasta to it, chopping up the mushrooms (the sauce wouldn’t be able to hang out in the mushrooms this way, but it’d be delicious still!), and even adding in some meat to make it a complete meal. You can easily increase the amount of the sauce to accommodate for the pasta if you like it saucier, or leave it as is.

All I know is that I can’t wait to eat this again, and to play around with it!

Do you like mushrooms? What is your favorite way to eat/prepare them?

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Adults Gone Wild: Grocery Budgeting & Meal Planning to Save Money

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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Ah yes, the almighty dollar. We are constantly bombarded with various posts and articles about how to save money, what to do to build our retirement fund, and how much debt various age groups are in.

My husband and I both make good money doing work we enjoy. I’m not finished with school yet, so when that day finally comes, I’ll be able to make even more money than I do now. You know, to pay off those student loans. insert disenchanted sigh here.

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Regardless of how well we might be paid, we still have the ever-looming debt at this stage in our lives. We do what we can to save money, though. I recently made him go through all of our bills and write them down, along with their due dates. I also requested the amount of anything we owe (credit cards, house, cars, etc.), and then our income (we’re both paid bi-weekly, on the same days). My plan is to go through, see where we can put more money to pay something down sooner rather than later, and other ways we can save. Kalen is the saver, and I am, hands-down the spender.

So, since I’ve seen our debt/bills, my efforts to save have been a little been more intensified. It’s not terrible, and we’re not drowning like I know some people are (I’m not judging – full disclosure, I had to file bankruptcy 7 years ago due to medical bills and working for some very stingy lawyers), but I would like to also have more money to allocate for home improvement (fenced in yard, larger deck, refinish the basement, redo the flooring, new counter tops, new stove and dishwasher…you get the idea), and we both have a list of destinations we’d love to travel to (crossing Germany off that list soon though!).

Plus, does anyone complain about having extra money lying around? I don’t think so.

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

So what are we doing to save? Well, we’ll be working out a budget soon (most likely that will wait until we’re back from Germany). We already meal plan, but we’re going to be stricter with it, because we’re also easily tempted by invitations out, or swayed by delicious looking images we see on Instagram (you know you want to follow me…haha).

But now?

Enter the Grocery Budget!

I’ve already talked about how we eat the same breakfast Monday through Friday (for him, 2 hard boiled eggs and a banana, and for me it’s 2 hard boiled eggs, 1 kiwi, and another fruit, depending on what is on sale that week), so that stays the same.

Our lunches were previously leftovers from the dinner we’d have the night before. However, I also really love to freeze leftovers when we can (like anything pasta/soup/casserole related), and that’s hard to do when we are taking leftovers for lunch. I also decided that it will be cheaper to buy some lunch meat, bread, and cheese and take sandwiches rather than making say…4 pork chops for dinner so that we have lunch. Those other 2 pork chops can be another dinner for us. We have a large stash of meat in our freezers, and I’d like to keep it that way to keep grocery costs down.

So I have been making a list of what we tend to buy each week (this is rough still):
Eggs (min. 2 dozen)-they are all hard boiled for our weekday breakfasts, and we do usually have eggs on the weekends too.
Milk (2x per month)- I don’t drink milk, only Kalen does
Bananas (1 bunch weekly)
Apples (4x per month)
Lettuce (1-2 packs per week)
Zucchini (1-2 packs per week)
Asparagus (1 per week)
Peppers (2x per month)
Cucumbers (2-3x per month)
Tomatoes (2x per month)
Cheez Its (1-2 boxes per month)
Pretzels (1-2 bags per month)
Rye chips (2-4 bags per month)
The Cheez Its, pretzels, and rye chips are for a snack mix I make, and each “recipe” will yield me 2 weeks of snacks for work. I can alter the ingredients though, so I may do that next time.
Cheddar cheese block (4-6 per month)
Mozzarella cheese block (4 per month)
Shredded sharp cheddar (big bag – 1 every other month)
Shredded medium cheddar (big bag – 1 every other month)
Lunchmeat
Ham from Costco (2 packs – 2 months)
Turkey from Aldi (1 pack per month)
Coffee creamer (1 per month maximum)-I’m the one who uses it, Monday through Friday, and only 2 tablespoons per 20 ounce cup. It’s almond creamer though, so it’s not necessarily the cheapest option.
Bread (3-4 loaves per month)- made or purchased.
Butter (1-2 packs per month)
Bacon (lower sodium is 1-2 packs per month; cheap stuff depends on recipes)-We buy bacon from Costco, for breakfasts. If a recipe calls for bacon, we’ll buy a cheap package from the store – I am NOT using my good bacon to crumble up on some chicken! haha.
Sandwich cheese (1 pack per week)
Cream cheese (1 block per week)
Heavy cream (1 per week)
Sour cream (1-2 per month)
Shredded taco cheese (1 per month)
Coffee (2 bags per month from Aldi) (1 bag per month from Costco)- I use the Costco coffee for my cold brew coffee because we grind it.
Salad dressing (1 bottle per month)
Peanuts (1 per month)- these are the extra large peanuts from Costco, and Kalen takes a little container to work daily.
Breakfast sausage (1 per week)-If that. We buy them and tend to slice them in half.
Kefir (5 per month)-This is for me and I am going to try to stop it to see if it truly does make a difference in my stomach issues.
Kiwi (2 boxes per month)
Clementines/strawberries/blackberries (enough for 5 days per week)
Fresh green beans (1-2 bags per week)
Carrots (10lb bag from Costco 1 bag every two months)
Green tea (1 per month)
Sparkling water
Klar Brun (1 case every 6 weeks)
Ice Mountain (1 per month)
English muffins (2 per month)- if that.

We shop from a grocery list (this was our list for 4/27 and for meals from 4/30-5/9):
fish sauce
canola oil
vacuum seal bags x2
garment rack
woven totes x2
door hooks
drawer organizer
planter
hose pot
6pk solar lights
lunch cooler
romaine 3pk 2.99 @ SVT
bananas 0.39/lb @ SVT
Nathan’s beef hot dogs 3.99 @ SVT
jasmine rice
cottage cheese
macaroni
sharp cheddar block x3
extra sharp cheddar block
mozzarella block
fresh parsley
raisins
produce (sales)

We went to two stores last night: Aldi and SVT (a local grocery store). We spent $20.04 @ SVT (but we rounded up for St. Jude’s so it was $21 even), and $97.59 at Aldi. Yes, there is only two of us. No, that was not all grocery related. Our actual amount spent on groceries was $58.85. Some of what we bought will be stashed in the freezer. Some of what we bought were specialty items that we will use over time. If you are familiar with Aldi, you will know about the Aldi finds. Those were $58.78 with tax of what we spent.

SVT ($20.04):
Thai fish sauce=$2.89
chicken thighs (11.11 lbs in two packages @ 0.88/lb)=$9.78 (these will be frozen for future meals)
Nathan’s jumbo beef hot dogs (8 pack)=$3.99
fresh parsley, 1 bunch=0.79
bananas (2.79 lbs @ 0.39/lb)=$1.09
donuts (2 @ 0.75 each)=$1.50 (we had these for “dessert”)

Aldi groceries ($38.81):
jasmine rice=$4.39 (I don’t remember the bag size, but it’s probably about 2-3 lbs)
zucchini (2 @ $1.19 each)=$2.38
cottage cheese, 16 oz.=$2.29
mozzarella block=$1.99
extra sharp cheddar block=$1.99
sharp cheddar block (3 @ $1.99 each)=$5.97
romaine hearts (3 pack @ $1.99 each x2)=$3.98
cinnamon apple straws=$2.19 (Healthy? No. Better than cookies? Yes.)
6 pack of raisins (2 @ 0.97 each)=$1.94 (they did not have any big containers, so I had to get these)
Sriracha mustard=$1.19
horseradish mustard=$1.19
salsa ranch=$1.49
spicy ranch=$1.49
asparagus, 1 lb.=$1.99 (the week before SVT head these for $0.99/lb and I wish I had gotten more)
mini sweet peppers=$2.49
canola oil=$1.85

Aldi Finds ($54.93 before tax/$58.78 with tax):
6 pack of solar lights=$8.99
3 pack of large vacuum bags (2 @ $6.99 each)=$13.98
garment rack-$9.99 (to hang our winter coats on in the basement)
4 pack over the door hooks=$3.99 (for guest room and office doors)
2 pack grill and bake mats=$4.99 (I wanted to try these out for veggies, but we may end up using it for pizzas and getting a basket for veggies)
wicker hose pot=$12.99 (our siding is cement/concrete (I never remember) and we did buy a hanging hose holder but we’d have to get special things to hang it, and this looks prettier)

All in all, I don’t think we did too terrible. All the produce will be eaten, the meat will be frozen, the mustards will be used on sandwiches, the cheese is for recipes, the rice will last beyond the recipes we need it for, the ranch will last, as will the canola oil and raisins (they’re for oatmeal), and the cinnamon apple straws won’t be around long haha.

And in an effort to ensure that last week’s produce doesn’t go bad, I’ve prepped that!


Kalen will peel and slice the kiwi (I hack off my finger tips), the strawberries are cut and stored in Pyrex, the mini peppers have the tops cut off, the cucumber is peeled, and sliced, the celery is sliced, and there is a buttermilk ranch dip in the big round Pyrex (I love Aldi’s ranch packets). There’s also a pretty picture of our cheese collection hahaha!!! We snack on a lot of cheese.

And because this is already a long post, let’s just go over our meal plan! As you know, if you’ve been here before, this is only our dinners. We don’t plan breakfasts and lunches.


Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash & Photo by Chinh Le Duc on Unsplash

April 30th: Bacon ranch chicken with homemade mac and cheese, and carrots
May 1st: Simple lasagna casserole with a salad and side of keto garlic bread
May 2nd: Thai turkey meatloaf with some veggie fried rice (I’ll be tossing stuff in to use up before we leave so it doesn’t go bad or get tossed)
May 3rd: Baked buttermilk chicken, zucchini, brown rice (might end up having the fried rice if there’s enough leftover)
May 4th: Dinner with family
May 5th: Greek chicken (we’ll grill it if it is nice out), yellow jasmine rice, and zucchini on the grill (again, if we grill)
May 6th: We’ll either pull something out of the freezer (I recently took inventory) or do a quick marinade to grill something. Sides will depend on what we’re having.
May 7th: Chili cheese beef and mac, and asparagus
May 8th: Queso chicken, yellow rice (Vigo brand), asparagus
May 9th: Freezer meal – most likely some frozen pasta bake thing.

The missing days from between the last post and this one are because we pretty much only ate out while the in-laws were here haha. Which was delicious, but my stomach is very grateful to be eating home cooked food again!!!

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to give you a glimpse into how we’ll be adjusting things to save money, which will show on what I post here. I’m pretty open about money, so I won’t shy away from sharing our progress or setbacks (if we have any). And I’ll be trying to make more frugal meals, but our groceries will still be higher than some who are strict at budgeting because we’re not going to budge on fresh produce, cheese, eggs, or meat.

Tell me, do you follow a grocery budget? If so, how much do you spend per week/month and for how many? I’d love to hear!

Are you there, Spring? It’s me, Amber.


I am exceptionally terrible at sticking to any type of blogging schedule. You’ve noticed, I’m sure.

Before I dive in, I’ll post last week’s meals, and this week’s meals, because I know that’s why you’re here.

April 2nd: Parmesan pork chops and roasted asparagus with salads. These came from this book (heads up, this is an affiliate link!).
April 3rd: I had fasting labs so we ended up snagging some prime rib tacos from Woodfire. So good.
April 4th: Parmesan and pork rind green beans, buttery garlic chicken, and salad. Also from the same cookbook linked earlier.
April 5th: Mississippi pot roast, roasted radishes, and blistered green beans (first two recipes from that same book – it’s a keeper!).
April 6th: We went to dinner with my sister and her boyfriend for her birthday to House of Kobe. Her birthday is the 14th, but my father-in-law and his wife (stepmother-in-law?) will be coming to see us on the 14th, so we celebrated early).
April 7th: We got Thai food from a local place after going grocery shopping.
April 8th: Tonight we’re making some garlic Parmesan chicken wings, baked zucchini sticks, and “fried” green beans. First two recipes are, once again, from that cookbook! Seriously, even if you’re not eating Keto, you need this in your life.
April 9th: Jalapeno cheddar burgers (no bun), Parmesan carrot fries, and fried radishes.
April 10th: Chicken thighs (recipe coming soon!), asparagus, and broccoli/salad.
April 11th: Tacos (beef on corn tortillas), yellow rice, and refried beans. We had taken out some beef for a recipe the other day and didn’t make it so we cooked the meat and froze it. I might actually just turn this into giant taco salads, at least for me – I’m kind of loving the lack of carbs in my diet (my blood sugar is not – hellooooo plunging numbers on occasion!).
April 12th: Baked garlic and paprika chicken legs (there’s that cookbook again!), zucchini, and salad.
April 13th: Dinner at my Mom’s for Ashley’s birthday (chop suey I think).
April 14th: The in-laws arrive, so we’ll be going out! Not sure where yet – guests get to pick!
April 15th: Up in the air. I don’t know if we’ll cook at home, or what is going on.

Okay so, life is life, ya know? I’m behind on my school readings (but getting ahead – life just keeps happening), I’m behind on my to-do list in preparation for our guests, and I am behind on my weight loss (as in nothing has happened – oops!). But otherwise, things are going great!

I’m still dealing with the animosity from a co-worker, and it might not bother me so much if I wasn’t so sure that she was saying things behind my back (not truthful things either) about my work ethic. It really bothers me, when I know it shouldn’t (my work speaks for itself), but it’s frustrating to know that someone will lie about you just because they dislike you for some reason (truly do not know why either). It is also frustrating because there is a new venture our company is taking on, and I’m excited about it and would like to do more for that side of things, but I have a feeling that she’s spoken so ill of me (and people who are not there a full 40 hours seem to love her) that it won’t happen.

Home-wise, Kalen and I are getting a lot more done around the house. We finally painted some areas of the wall we had to touch up, we cleaned the garage out, and he changed the dryer vent tubing today (it was HORRIBLE and we’re incredibly blessed that a fire did not start).

The Easter decorations have been packed away until next year, and our regular decorations are put back out. I also organized our pantry (I may have mentioned this already).


The first picture has our coffee, some candy canes in the blue bin, and then chips, nuts, pretzels, and pork rinds on the top shelf, and granola bars, fruit snacks, , and crackers on the bottom shelf. The second picture has all of our baking items on the top shelf, an don the bottom we have miscellaneous things like dressing, oils, cans of tuna, and sauces. The third picture has our rice (in the bigger jars we have brown and white), mixes, and pastas on the top shelf, and the bottom is all of the canned goods that are up here. The rest of the stuff is downstairs in the basement.

Kalen’s stepmom is allergic to cats, so before they arrive, I’ll be going and doing a major dusting in their room, washing all the bedding (although we bought new sheets), and of course vacuuming, then keeping the door shut for the duration of their stay. I have some shelves that need to be hung in that room too, and we need to move our drying rack out of there and into the office.

WE also have some pictures to re-frame and hang again, and more to actually frame and hang (may or may not be done before they visit). I’d like to print some wedding pictures (you know, 4 years later…) and frame them and put them out…because you know – we kinda like each other. But only a little bit.

My birthday also happened, and I’m officially 33. Yikes! But, it was a blasty blast, if you will. On my actual birthday, we went to dinner at my Mom’s house (tacos!) and my gifts were cash for a new toilet, and things FOR the toilet…haha! Isn’t it fun being older? The day after, we went to dinner with Ashley and Eric, and the turds paid for us, so that’s why we had Thai food – it was my replacement birthday dinner from Kalen! It was great though, and then of course, Sunday was Easter, so that was a busy day!

This weekend was more relaxing, but still busy. One of these day we’ll get to relax! This week I’d like to finish this class I’m doing, get the house finished and ready, and MAYBE actually crochet something or make some jewelry!

What is a typical weekend like for you? Busy? Relaxing? Let me know in the comments below!

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Slow and Steady and Shot Up with Steroids

Kalen and I have been slowly but surely accomplishing things around the house that we have either put off due to cost/laziness or that we put off because it wasn’t as important as other things. The past few weeks/weekends have been busy for each of us!


Sirius cramming himself on the top of our bed. Ellie perched on an empty box in the basement while we do stuff. What Ellie was watching us do. Is it pretty? No. Is it functional? Yes. I’m excited to get back to making things for Fabulous, Darling!

Last weekend, Kalen had to work on Saturday, so I spent the day at home doing chores. I dusted, vacuumed, did laundry, cleaned the bathrooms, and straightened up in general. Then I went to dinner at my Mom and Jack’s house for corned beef and cabbage, and Kalen met us there. When we got home, we both basically just fell right asleep haha.

Sunday we did our weekly grocery shopping, I made us breakfast (and now I don’t even remember what we had!), and just relaxed at home, which is always enjoyable. Kalen made the sous vide pork, and we had rice and salad on the side. It was really good too!

Let’s do a quick meal plan – a recap and what is coming up!
March 19th: Enchilada meatballs and layered cheese enchiladas with a salad
March 20th: Middle Eastern-inspired chicken thighs with brown rice and a salad
March 21st: Keto Crack Chicken in the pressure cooker (or an Instant Pot, since it’s the same thing and IP is the brand name….) mixed with some whole grain pasta, and garlic Parmesan zucchini on the side.
March 22nd: Bacon, cream cheese, cheddar chicken, rice pilaf, and I had some creamy garlic mushrooms (I’ll post my recipe soon!) and Kalen had salad.
March 23rd: We bought some Irish-style bangers, which I discovered I’m not fond of and I had a frozen chicken kiev while Kalen at the bangers, made some mashed potatoes (I always add some cream cheese to mine), and carrots on the side.
March 24th: Kalen wanted to go out for pizza. Original plan was to have brats with rice pilaf and broccoli/salad, but we went here instead. So good. He got The Joker, I got Choke and Shroom, and we shared some Stoner Bites.
March 25th: Making some cheesy fajita chicken, and probably some yellow rice and/or refried beans. We’ll use some corn tortillas for the fajitas.
March 26th: Low carb taco bake with broccoli/salad.
March 27th: Jalapeno popper chicken casserole with some cheesy quinoa (I will post how I make my quinoa too!), and salad.
March 28th: Jalapeno cheddar burgers with the homemade mac and cheese I shared a few weeks ago (where you boil it in milk), and zucchini.
March 29th: Chicken Cordon Bleu casserole with either leftover sides (if any) or brown rice, and salad.
March 30th: Mexican fiesta at my Mom’s for my 33rd birthday! Happy Birthday to me!!!! And a cake from Dairy Queen. 😉
March 31st: Dinner out with Kalen for my birthday – still deciding where to go! Depending on where we go, we might end up going during the week and moving something to today, but we’ll see.
April 1st: Easter Sunday which means dinner with Kalen’s family followed by dinner with my family. His tends to do ham and fresh Polish sausage (his mom is bringing that) and mine does a roasted leg of lamb. I eat at my family’s gathering, and he at his. Lamb is delicious! He disagrees…hahaha!!!

So, weekly happenings? Monday I had a call with my student mentor – I’m really trying to decide what to do when I finish this degree, if I do anything that is. So it was an extra long call. Tuesday I had my first appointment with an orthopedic surgeon regarding my right hand (yay, carpal tunnel!). After getting an x-ray done, she decided to give me a steroid shot into my hand/wrist (with the use of an ultrasound) and gave me instructions to follow up in a month if it is not improved. So far we’re good though, and hopefully it stays this way, because it is no longer waking me up at night, and I can write and you know, function.
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The arrow is pointing to the tiniest, cutest little bruise ever from where the needle went in, and the other area is a weird bump I have there, that was there prior to the injection.

Kalen’s dad and step mom are going to be coming to visit soon, so I’m trying to work in time to get stuff together and ready, like cleaning, making sure the bed linens are cleaned (she is allergic to cats, so when they’re cleaned, I’ll be shutting off the guest room to the cats), finishing decorating (we have shelves to hang, and some wall art to hang in there), finish hanging stuff in our room (so they see a completed look, if you will), and just in general straightening and organizing the house (not that it’s terrible now – unless you count the basement). We also need to finish up the office. I believe everything is in there, but it’s still in boxes. I’m hoping though, that since the items are really just drawers filled with school supplies (pens, pencils, highlighters, etc.) and not really “loose” stuff, that unpacking it will be easier. There are also the two boxes of cookbooks/recipe binders that need to be unpacked. We put the shelf unit in there that we’d used to hold those books, so they’re going back there. Ideally such items would be in the kitchen, but there isn’t really room or a good place to make room.

Kalen gave me my birthday gift last night – I have been wanting this before I even knew what it was! Lodge had announced they were starting their Legacy Series, and so I was immediately saying “I NEED THIS!” without knowing the item. It was the Fluted Cake Pan, and then I really needed it! So, enter birthday gift!!!
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Isn’t it beautiful!?

I also got this book that I ordered, and I’m excited to make stuff from it.
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Okay, now it is time to go curl up under the cover because I’m freezing!
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Him? Me? How?

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Something I’m asked quite often (and sometimes it is not in a nice way) is “How do you and Kalen work?” and “How did you end up with him?” because for those who know us, we’re rather different from each other.

I wouldn’t say I’m a social butterfly, but in comparison to him, I am! He’s shy and quite, very reserved about things such as money (which is honestly why we have any of it – I’m a spender), and he’s this super smart tech nerd. I listen to loud music, and he listens to history podcasts. I like to crochet and he likes to build computers. He’s a morning person, and I am 100% a night owl.

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If you met us, and didn’t know either of us were married for almost 4 years and together for almost 9, you would not think we were together. I dated guys that I thought I had more in common with, and honestly when I met Kalen I was hooked but afraid that since we seemed so different, we wouldn’t work out. I mean, I had so much in common with Random Guy(s) and that didn’t work, so how could this?

But it does. We have a lot of things in common, we support each other’s dreams and goals, we support each other in general (he proved that when I decided that I wanted to quit nursing school when I was so close to being finished, and I showed him that when he wanted to go back to school too). We talk over big decisions with each other (new jobs, buying a house, change of major), and we don’t make a decision that is big without the other being on board. We respect each other. We don’t try to change each other into someone “better.” We work together as a couple. We cook together, clean together, and make plans together. We’re building a life together.

Quite frankly, my husband is my best friend, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We complement each other with our different personalities. We’re not necessarily on the same path, which would be boring, but we’re definitely on the same journey. We’re going through this life together, even if his steps are more carefully placed and thought out than mine are.

And I love every magical second of it.

Sing to the Sky

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Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash
unsplash-logoTim Foster

You guys.

I’m a terrible friend. I am. I kept saying I’d post an update, and all I gave you were sporadically posted meal plans. I’ve been having a really tough time lately, so I haven’t felt like writing anything.

Why the hard time? you ask?

Well, I haven’t been sleeping well for MONTHS, and I honestly don’t remember the last time I actually slept through the night without waking up either in pain or to pee (tmi?). The pain is from my hand/wrist – yay carpal tunnel! I finally saw my primary doctor, and she wrote me a referral for an orthopedic surgeon, and I will see her on the 20th of this month. My doctor seems pretty positive that I’ll require surgery to fix the problem, because I let it go for so long. I have to sleep in a brace, and I can barely function with my hand, which is not good because it’s my dominant hand. Like to the point where I can’t even brush my teeth with my left hand.

I’ve been having issues with a coworker too, and I honestly don’t know the reason why she’s been so rude and horrid towards me. An example is the other day, she mentioned that Costco had a good chicken salad but it is a lot (duh, Costco). Another coworker said she makes her own, but only a little at a time or it goes to waste. I chime in (while working, I’ll add) that Sam’s Club has a good one that is made in their deli, but it’s a lot and since Kalen doesn’t eat chicken salad, I don’t buy it. The rude coworker immediately says the other’s name and mimes zipping her lips. Why yes folks, a lady in her 50s who is NOT my boss (or anyone’s boss) is shushing my coworkers so that I won’t talk. She later on talked about putting money in a male dancer’s g-string and drinking liquor. But I can’t talk about chicken salad. Oh, okay. She also said out of the blue on Wednesday that she’s not comfortable discussing an aspect of our jobs with me, and that I don’t need to know that information (I do). On Thursday I questioned again how I don’t need to know, and how could I do that job without the knowledge. She said it wasn’t necessary to know, and I said that was fine, I won’t help her out (I’m petty and pissed off). Then she came to “clarify” that it was schedule-related (it wasn’t) and she wasn’t comfortable shouting out schedules for the whole office to hear (it really doesn’t matter, because we can all view those schedules if we wanted to, and it’s all related to our jobs, but okay). So THEN Friday she shouts out the schedules of TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE. Two coworkers both reacted by saying loudly “Are you effing kidding me!?” incredulously. She also told me on Thursday that I spent all of Wednesday talking and I said that I absolutely did not because I had headphones in all day (to prevent me from losing my cool). She said I only recommended one person, and I said oh no, I recommend multiple people depending on the location and her response? “Oh, well I wasn’t paying attention then.” RIGHT SO HOW IS THAT MY FREAKING FAULT!? When I left Thursday for my appointment, she made a comment that if I had surgery, I’d milk it for all I could to take off as much time as possible (so, I guess I have no need for money), and then said if I get pregnant I’ll probably end up quitting. Excuse me, but with the way you’re treating me, wouldn’t that make you happy? I know she’s mad that I don’t offer out of the blue to help with her job, but I have my own. I am her backup when she is OUT OF THE OFFICE. I am not her assistant, and in my job description, I’m not required to even offer her help. When I have nothing to do of my own, I don’t mind, but do not demand that I do something. She will come up to me, if I talk, and say “Do this.” No. She has made me hate being at work, and I used to love it. I’m not the first person she has done this too either. I’m not sure why she’s so miserable, but she is. It’s been really draining too.

So rather than even talk to friends or think about it, I’ve been listening to twenty one pilots 24/7 to just ignore everything, and the louder the better. I’ve loved the band since before they were signed and put out Vessel (yeah, I’m playing that card), and each time I listen to them, I feel like I’m at peace and calm. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. I’m sure Kalen is going to get sick of only listening to them, but luckily he loves them too so I have time before that happens haha.

I’ve also been dealing with depression. This time of year is never my favorite. January 27th is my Dad’s birthday (he would have been 60 this year), and I haven’t celebrated one with him since our last together in 1999. February 24th marks the day that 6 years ago we were told my Gma had stage IV unknown primary cancer and that she wouldn’t be able to undergo treatment because it was on her liver (and medications are metabolized through the liver) and I had to watch all the hope and willingness to fight leave her when she heard that and slumped her shoulders. April 24th is the day that 6 years ago she left us as Free Bird played (and now I hear that stupid song everywhere all the time and I hate it). April 26th is our wedding anniversary (4 years!) but it’s so close to that awful day, that while I’m happy to have another year with the love of my life, I find myself thinking about how she wasn’t there. April 30th is the day my Great Grandma died in 2008. In May we’re going to be in Germany for 2 weeks and I’m worried how my cats are going to be (they’re so afraid of people and they love to snuggle with us, so I think they’re going to be lonely and confused), and then June 12th marks 19 years since my Dad has been alive.

So it’s a tough year at the start. Top that off with the fact that I quit taking my birth control in an effort to wean off of it (we’re not actually trying, so we’re using condoms, and there’s another tmi for you!), and I’m a hormonal, emotional, depressed mess.

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Lyrics from Screen, off of Vessel – such a great song and one I’ve been listening to a lot during all of this.

Anyway, other than those downsides, life is going on as usual. We replaced the fans in our living room, dining room, and bedroom, and added one to our kitchen. We replaced the light above the sink in the kitchen, hung up a sign below it, and hung a sign above the door going into the kitchen. I decorated for Easter, we got a new quilt for the guest bed, my Mom gave me my Gma’s curio cabinet (Kalen actually just finished anchoring it to the wall lol), we organized some of the basement, Kalen ran network cable into the office, and when his Uncle Dave is free again, he’s going to help finish up running the cable to the TV, and put in a new light at the top of the stairs/beginning of the hallway (there is only one, and it’s at the end of the hallway).

I also started a new term with school (although I’m already behind my planned schedule thanks to a killer pulled neck muscle that rendered me useless for a few days), and I have a new student mentor that is already more useful and helpful than the other one had been. I did not finish 2 of my courses last term, but I started this one with 4 entirely new ones, for a fresh start type of vibe, if you will. So far so good, minus falling behind my own scheduled plans haha.

Kalen and I saw both Black Panther (so so so amazing and I love how the females are portrayed as so incredibly strong and awesome), and Game Night (FREAKING HILARIOUS).

AND I found out that some of my favorite people are going to be in town in June from Ireland. My aunt’s best friend and her husband and their twins moved there, then had their 3rd child there. They don’t visit often (it’s expensive) and we suck and have never gone, but they’re family in my eyes and the last visits were all the girls, then the guys, so it was separated. I love seeing them though. The kids are so cool, and I love Sarah and Steve. So I’m psyched.

Honestly, that’s really about it.

So here is what we ate last week (stuff was shifted around quite a bit), and what we plan to eat this week (no links this time, but if you are curious, I’ll let you know, just ask!):

March 4th: Ranch chicken, mac and cheese, carrots
March 5th: Dinner out with Karen at Wings Etc.
March 6th: Pasta bake with salad
March 7th: Green chile chicken, Mexican corn, salad
March 8th: Swedish meatballs with egg noodles, green beans
March 9th: We tried a local place called Woodfire.
March 10th: Enchilada pasta, broccoli/salad
March 11th: Greek roasted chicken and potatoes, green beans amandine
March 12th: Keto butter chicken, brown rice, zucchini
March 13th: One-pot lasagna, salad/broccoli
March 14th: Baked enchilada chicken, yellow rice, salad
March 15th: Bacon, cream cheese, and cheddar chicken, carrots, white rice (we’re digging rice this week, apparently)
March 16th: Bangers and mash, broccoli/salad, maybe Irish soda bread (might save that for Saturday though)
March 17th: Dinner will likely be at my aunt’s house, and it will be the American version of Irish food: Corned beef and cabbage
March 18th: Nothing set in stone yet, but Kalen wants to do a sous vide pork tenderloin, so the sides will be based off of what he does with that.

Okay, NOW I am done!

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Meal Plan

Still not the post I promised with any real sort of updates, because honestly? I’m busy. BUT…here is what I’ve been eating lately!

I’m sure some of you read these plans and think “OH MY GOODNESS! THEY EAT LIKE CRAP!” or, like my Mom always says when I send her dinner pictures “You sure do use a lot of cheese, Amber!” I assure you though, that we’re generally eating really well. We fill up on vegetables. We don’t really use a ton of cheese (it just looks like it because we prefer it hand-grated to already shredded), and when we have any pasta, it is whole grain. Our rice is pretty much always brown too (we make exceptions – lemon rice soup with brown rice? NOPE!). I gave up drinking pop for Lent (and my plan is to not go back to it again), so I drink mainly water or sparkling water (not the Sparkling Ice kind – think La Croix type), one cup of coffee Monday through Friday, and usually one green tea per day. I make ice tea once in awhile and I use Stevia to sweeten. My breakfast during the week is 2 hard boiled eggs, 2 kiwi, and either 1/2 cup of blackberries or 2 clementines. I’ve been having strawberries at lunch, and my lunches are leftovers from the night before. I don’t really snack on chips or sweets (he doesn’t either), and our weekend breakfasts are where we splurge. We generally will have an English muffin topped with Kerrygold butter, some eggs (either fried, scrambled, or as an omelet), and bacon. Or, I might make up some biscuits with sausage gravy. I will happily snack on mini peppers, pepper sticks, cucumber slices, celery sticks, or cherry tomatoes.

So, we eat pretty healthy foods.

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled program…..

Meal Plan!
February 18th: Our meal plan was shifted, and we had ground beef fried rice on the 17th, so today’s dinner was meant for the 17th, and it was Caprese chicken thighs with garlic rosemary focaccia and a salad.
February 19th: Tonight was tacos, leftover refried bean casserole, and yellow rice.
February 20th: Meal plan shift popping up again! Previously meant for the 18th, we had the chili cheese dog tater tot casserole thingy and some blistered fresh green beans.
February 21st: Boiled up some cheese tortellina, mixed with with frozen meatballs, topped with sauce and slices of provolone, and baked! I had broccoli, he had salad.
February 22nd: I went out with my best friend for Mexican food to celebrate not only her graduation from nursing school, but that she passed her boards! She’s officially an RN! Woo!!!
February 23rd: We ordered from a local place – cheesy garlic bread, and Muffaletta sandwiches.
February 24th: Buffalo Chicken Jalapeno Popper Casserole (we have made this SO MANY TIMES and I freaking love it!), zucchini (not sure how we’ll make ’em yet), and a salad (I might have broccoli).
February 25th: Drunken Beef Stew, and as my friend Cassie suggests, crusty bread for serving. I love her blog, don’t you?
February 26th: Italian Chicken Bake, salad.
February 27th: Cajun Hasselback Chicken, Garlic Noodles (I leave out the sugar), and salad/broccoli.
February 28th: Korean Beef, brown Basmati rice (from Aldi – so tasty!), and zucchini (salad if there aren’t any good zucchini to be found).
March 1st: Green Chile Chicken, yellow rice, salad
March 2nd: Crunchy Ranch Chicken Strips, THE BEST EVER Mac & Cheese, carrots
March 3rd: Not sure yet – we might have our uncle over to help us install new fans in the living room, dining room, and kitchen, and Kalen mentioned inviting his mom over as well, so we’ll see. Maybe I’ll toss together a pasta bake of some sort, and make some homemade garlic bread, all with a big salad.
March 4th: Slow Cooker Chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans.

Those really awesome pictures? Not mine! Check out Unsplash for some more awesome images!

Do you all enjoy these posts? Do they bore you? Are you as nosy as I am when it comes to what complete strangers on the Internet are eating?

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Catching Up on Recent Eats!

I’ve been slacking with posting our meal plans. I’m sorry! Life has been hectic, but I’ll make another post about life in general.

This post here? It’s all about food! No pictures though.

I know, I know – you’re heartbroken you won’t be seeing my incredibly talented dinner photography in action. I get it! I’m heartbroken too.

January 29th: One of my best friends came over for dinner after speaking to a former professor’s class about how rigorous and stressful nursing school is, so I made a pasta bake (I used 1 pound of Italian sausage – half was hot, half regular, 1 pound of whole wheat pasta, some marinara, and 1 pound of fresh mozzarella. Cooked the sausage, boiled the pasta, mixed those together with the sauce, topped with the fresh mozzarella, and baked at 350 until it was melted), and we had some green beans. It was a lovely evening. We had dessert of banana bread I’d made the day before, and some vanilla ice cream.
January 30th: Our last meal plan got a little off, so we had the bacon, cream cheese, and cheddar chicken this night with carrots, and I had broccoli while Kalen had a salad.
January 31st: We took some chicken breasts, topped with some red enchilada sauce, topped with some shredded pepper jack cheese (we shred cheese ourselves – so much tastier!), and baked it. We served it with some yellow rice, and a salad.
February 1st: We went to my mother-in-law’s and she ordered Chinese take out – Mongolian beef with fried rice and an egg roll! Mmmm!!!
February 2nd: Our mothers went to a craft/antique show, and we met them at a Mexican restaurant for dinner that night. Beef chimichangas! Yummy!
February 3rd: Kalen went to a concert, and I went to dinner with my sister and our friend for our friend’s birthday. We had Mexican! Steak chimichanga for me lol!
February 4th: I made a big pot of lemon rice soup (nothing fancy here – 4 cups of cooked rice, 4 cans of cream of chicken soup, 4 cans of chicken and rice soup, 3 cups of milk, and 1-1.5 cups of lemon juice [adjust to your tastes]. Just cook the rice, mix it all together, except the lemon juice, and heat through. Then add the juice, to your tastes, and serve), and we had some frozen chicken patties on a bun. Fancy!
February 5th: Stuck some chicken legs in the Crockpot, topped with a bottle of barbecue sauce, and cooked on low for 8 hours. Made some garlic Parmesan mac and cheese (homemade), and had a salad.
February 6th: pork schnitzel made with almond flour (it wasn’t my favorite), leftover mac and cheese, and green beans.
February 7th: leftover lemon rice soup with a grilled turkey and cheese sandwich.
February 8th: We made some meatballs in a garlic herb sauce, and mixed with some whole wheat spaghetti, plus a salad. We also started getting hit with snow this night, again. Barf.
February 9th: I made Keto Butter Chicken and Baked Asian Rice (both recipes call for ground ginger, and we were apparently out of it), and had a salad with it. This was so so so good, and SO FREAKING EASY!!! Be careful with the chicken though – turmeric stains! We’ll be making this again, for sure!
February 10th: Kalen picked up some steak (filet; we prefer ribeye but he said they were really thin) and cooked them to a perfect medium rare using the sous vide, and gave ’em a quick sear in the cast iron. We also had homemade garlic bread, and some carrots. It was our Valentine’s Day dinner. 😉 I made some chocolate chip cookies too, so we have dessert!

Our upcoming meal plan is pretty tasty-sounding too!

February 11th: Creamy Italian Sausage Scalloped Potatoes. We have all the ingredients, so why not? We’ll serve with a salad.
February 12th: Southwest Chicken Pasta but not in the Crockpot! I’ll have broccoli, Kalen will have a salad.
February 13th: Chicken Enchiladas Casserole. This just sounds easy and yummy! Salad for us both.
February 14th: Instant Pot Smothered Pork Chops. I have yet to try anything from this site that I don’t like. We’re having this with some green beans, broccoli for me, and a salad for Kalen.
February 15th: Simple Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken Legs, carrots, and rice pilaf. You guys, I love Laura and her blog, and her recipes are always a hit! She’s the sweetest mama to 4 boys ever, and her life is one I’m envious of. She has a strong faith in the Lord too!
February 16th: We have some leftover enchilada sauce from the chicken we made, so I’m going to whip up some beef and some cheese enchiladas, make a version of the Pioneer Woman’s Cheesy Refried Bean Casserole (really just gonna saute some garlic and jalapenos, mix with beans, top with cheese, and bake, but her actual recipe is so so so good!), and have some yellow rice.
February 17th: Caprese Chicken Thighs because yummy (we’ll use pesto from Costco though), Keto Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia, and salad. This bread is so so so tasty, and easy!
February 18th: Chili Cheese Hot Dog Casserole (tater tots version), with broccoli for me and a salad for Kalen.

So that’s what we’re going to stuff our faces with this coming week! What about you?

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Vet Trips and 60th Birthdays

Interesting title, right? I’m so clever.

Okay but really, life is boring in my little curve of the cul-de-sac right now. I’m busy with school and work, and there isn’t much else that’s worth writing much about.

I haven’t shared our meal plan for this week, because honestly, it got all screwed up! Monday we had a pasta bake thing, and my friend came over. Tuesday we had some bacon, cream cheese, and cheddar chicken that was slated for…Sunday I think, with carrots and zucchini. Tonight we had some chicken topped with enchilada sauce and pepper jack cheese, then baked, yellow rice, and zucchini. Tomorrow we’re going to have dinner at Karen’s house, and Friday we’re meeting Karen and my Mom out for dinner (they’re going to a craft/antique show thing). Saturday Kalen has a concert and I’m getting lunch with my sister and out friend (it’s our friend’s birthday today so we’re celebrating!). No idea what is going on on Sunday. So…nothing exciting because it seems to be constantly changing.

Saturday we had our yearly vet appointment. It was…well, it was the vet with two cats who are terrified of people that aren’t me or Kalen. They meowed pitifully the whole ride there, and while we waited. I didn’t get too many pictures of Sirius, because he was hopping between carriers and crying in protest. I was holding Ellie though, and got some grand pictures.


She actually climbed down the back of my hoodie to the point where I had to take it off so Kalen could pry her off of me. Thankfully her claws had just been clipped because she scratched up my chest, but did not break skin. Poor thing was terrified.
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While she sought shelter in my clothing, Sirius preferred the carriers.

So that was Saturday morning. We came home and ate, then set to work. Kalen removed all the lights and decorations from outside the house, and I dusted everything in the house. I even dusted between the rungs of the chair backs! To be fair, he had his work cut out for him, because we decorated the front and back of the house. The snow was gone Saturday, but this was the front….
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Then, after that was done, we headed to my aunt’s house for a game night and tacos. It was a lot of fun, as per usual, and the food was delicious. It was a good Saturday really!

Sunday, my sister and I went to visit my Dad. His 60th birthday would have been Saturday, so we went to the cemetery. In hindsight we should have brought something to clean the headstone a bit, but we didn’t. I told her we need to start going more and “decorating.” It’s hard to drive so far for 5 minutes in front of a headstone with a name, but I think we really should. So, we did that and then hit up a diner for some lemon rice soup. Mmmm.

Since my Dad died in 1999 (I was 14), I don’t have new pictures. I’m a kid in these. But, these are what I post year after year.

So anyway, that was my weekend! This week has been going by pretty slowly and I’m glad that tomorrow brings in a new month of 2018 because January has been dragging on like crazy!

Who else is excited for February? Let me know why in the comments!

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The Struggle for Balance

When I was in nursing school, I was absolutely certain that I was going through the hardest part of my life. In my mind, nothing would be as awful as that.

I spent what little free time I had trying to find the time I needed to study and do well. I was eating like garbage, I wasn’t exercising, I never got to see friends or family, and I missed special occasions, like birthdays. I’m incredibly close with my family, and missing even just one thing was hard for me.

I quit nursing school, but not before my health really took a dive. I went from having thick hair to having hair so thin I have to be careful how I style it or it will look like I’m balding. Yay, stress! I went from weighing 230 to 290 (it’s down from that now, and that was also due to a new medication, but STILL!). I snacked a lot. I ate a lot of fast food.

I looked like this most of the time I was in nursing school:


I was all grimaces and fake smiles. I was all pretend happy and very real stress. It wasn’t a good look.

And now, I work full time in a job I love. I own a home. And I’m in a new degree program working towards a career I’ll love.

We bought the home, and there were things to be done, like painting our new but hideous beige counter tops in the kitchen (don’t worry, the walls were painted later by a company):

I took happy pictures and hung stuff outside:

I used to think that my problem with finding balance in life/school was due to nursing school. I’m slowly learning though that it is just who I am.

Oh, you want an example? Okay.

Right now, as I write this, I should probably be studying business ethics or working on spreadsheets. Or I should be bringing up the decorations we’d packed away to make room for Christmas decor. Or maybe I should be unpacking the boxes that are still in the basement and should be in our office. I could even be crocheting or making new jewelry for my Etsy shop (go check it out!). Instead, I am typing this up on the couch, snuggled up under some blankets, watching NCIS: New Orleans.

When I’m done with work, the only thing I want to do is come home, toss my bra onto the floor (okay, or put away in the drawer), put on some pajama pants, and do nothing. I was always a homebody but it has gotten worse now. The downside is that, while I’m being this wonderful homebody (wonderful, because quite honestly I think I do a good job of it!), I’m also looking around and making to-do list after to-do list because there’s still so much that needs to be done!

For about 2 months now, I’ve been rewriting the same list each week in the planner. One or two items might get checked off, but they’re the easier tasks (like washing the sheets). Mopping the bathroom floors and the kitchen floor? Hmmm, not today. Finding a place to hang all of our wall art? Hmmm, let’s just hang a few things and call it a day. Cleaning the nicotine/tobacco stains off the wall that are due to the previous owners smoking in the house (irritating because we paid painters, and they DID warn us, but still….lol)? Hmmm, we’ll pretend it doesn’t exist. Repainting cabinets? Hanging shelves? Setting up bookshelves? Let’s take a nap!

School is probably the worst struggle for me right now. I love what I’m studying (business, focusing on healthcare management). I love the school that I chose. I love the career field. But, I don’t love studying. I don’t love disciplining myself. I don’t love that I need to actually stick to the schedule that I set in order to be successful. The perk of this school/program is that I should be able to work at my own pace, and I have yet to take extra courses each term. Honestly, I’m not even sure if I’ll finish all of my classes this term (spreadsheets is a huge mental block for me right now).

The struggle is real. The lack of balance is real. My flaws? Those are real too.

So what am I doing about it?

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I’m telling myself that God has a plan, because He does. Only He knows that plan too. I just need to go with the flow. If I’m meant to finish this program, I will. If I’m meant to find a balance in my life, He’ll make sure that I do.

But I’m also not just sitting here waiting for everything to change. I’m working towards it. I’m trying to be more disciplined with studying, especially on the weekends, because during the week, when I get home from work I’m exhausted.

And so, we’ll see how it goes. We’ll see how things work out. And in time, we’ll see what God has planned for me.

How do you balance all areas of your life? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

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